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Taking a chemistry lab may seem daunting. You work with hazardous chemicals. There are names that seem to have no rhyme or reason. Why on earth would you want to call water dihydrogen monoxide of all things? Remember the dihyrogen monoxide parody? That aside, taking a chemistry course shouldn't be as intimidating as you may think! It is quite safe as long as everyone, including our instructors and technicians, follows the rules set in place. Thankfully, safety is of utmost priority in our labs. Below you will find information regarding our policies and the rules everyone must abide by. 

The experiments in our program are designed with your safety in mind. Every chemical will be used in a controlled environment and under supervision. However, that does not mean that you can simply ignore all safety protocols. Safety is our priority and everyone plays a role in keeping the labs as safe as possible. All of our protocols and procedures are in accordance with Hartnell College's Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). The CHP is essentially a guide on how to work with hazardous chemicals. It was designed to meet the criteria of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) and Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 5191, both titled, “Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories.”

It is always a good idea to reference the safety data sheets (SDS) before working with hazardous chemicals. SDS files are a treasure trove of knowledge. It contains hazard information, first aid measures, exposure controls and personal protection information, accidental release information, and much more. In order to succeed and contribute to our safe environment, please review the experimental procedures and all pertinent SDS files before entering the lab. Your instructors will provide you with the procedures in advance to give you ample time to review them. The more prepared you are for the lab, the less likely an accident will happen and the more likely you will succeed. 

SDS files are available as hard copies in the Chemistry Stockroom. Thanks to technology, they can also easily be accessed online simply by searching through a search engine. We normally receive our chemicals from Flinn Scientific or Millipore Sigma; these chemical vendors will be an excellent place for you to view the SDS files. If you are having trouble finding an SDS file or need help understanding it, please do not hesitate to contact your instructor or lab technician. 

Our safety rules applies to our laboratories and do not encompass all safety protocols on campus. For more information on safety outside of the laboratories, our campus safety policies can be found at the Campus Safety and Security page. Please make sure to follow all safety rules.

At the beginning of the semester, your instructor will review the safety rules in detail. These rules are put in place to keep everyone safe and to help you succeed. Everyone, including lab technicians and your instructors, must follow these rules. Disregarding these rules will result in disciplinary actions. We take safety in the labs seriously and will enforce them. The rules listed below are taken directly from our CHP and are only meant to summarize our procedures; they do not represent all of the rules in our laboratories. If in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact your instructor or lab technician. Your experimental procedures are also an excellent source of information since they will highlight how to properly dispose of hazardous waste.

  1. Read chemical labels and hazard warnings carefully before use. Refer to the Safety and Data Sheet (SDS) specific to each chemical for detailed information regarding proper handling and personal protective equipment recommendations.
  2. Skin and eye contact with chemicals should be avoided at all times. Minimize chemical exposure by wearing gloves and goggles. Inspect all protective wear before use.
  3. One should assume that any mixture will be more toxic than its most toxic component and that all substances of unknown toxicity are toxic.
  4. Use a fume hood when working with volatile, flammable, or other high hazard chemicals.
  5. Wear goggles and leather gloves when handling broken glass or when heating glassware.
  6. Never taste chemicals or eat or drink from laboratory glassware or other vessels.
  7. Never use mouth suction to pipette chemicals or to start a siphon.
  8. Chemicals should only be smelled indirectly by wafting the odors to your nose using your hand.
  9. Do not eat, drink, chew gum, apply cosmetics, or store food or drink in areas in which chemicals are used or stored.
  10. Wear appropriate clothing, such as closed shoes, socks, and long pants. Tie back long hair and secure loose clothing. Long sleeves are recommended.
  11. Inspect all equipment before use. Do not use chipped, etched or cracked glassware.
  12. No horseplay, practical jokes, or pranks are allowed in the laboratory.
  13. Do not operate electrical equipment with wet hands. Ensure that electrical equipment is properly grounded before using it.
  14. Keep all aisles and emergency exits clear and uncluttered.
  15. Know where emergency equipment is located and know how to use it properly before using any chemicals. Also, be familiar with the campus emergency plan (see the HC Emergency Action Guides posted by the doors of each laboratory and stockroom) and building evacuation routes.
  16. Keep workspaces, utility controls, and emergency equipment clean and within easy access.
  17. Always label all chemical solutions, even those that will be immediately consumed in a reaction.
  18. Dispose of waste promptly in the appropriate receptacle.
  19. Wash hands carefully after all procedures and before leaving a laboratory or chemical storage facility.

Remember, these rules apply to our laboratories. For more information regarding safety at Hartnell College, please review the Campus Safety and Security page.

Our lab rooms are furnished with a variety of emergency safety equipment. 

  • Safety Shower - You will find one of these in every lab room. Once activated, a deluge of water is released. Safety showers are to be used when you spill hazardous chemicals on your body. If the need arises, they should be used for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Eyewash Station - You will find one of these in every lab room directly beneath the safety showers. Once activated, fountains of water are released from the nozzles.  Eyewash stations are to be used if you splash hazardous chemicals in your eyes. If the need arises, they should be used for a minimum of 15 minutes. They are only effective if you keep your eyes open when flushing.
  • Fire Extinguishers - There should be a fire extinguisher located in or near every lab room. These should be used by trained personnel if the need to put out class A, B, and C fires arises. 
  • Spill Kits - Each lab room should have supplies that can be used to clean up small hazardous spills. If you spill a hazardous chemical, immediately inform your instructor or lab technician. 
  • Fume Hoods - These are special workbenches around the perimeter of each chemistry lab room. You can work in here when working with particularly smelly chemicals or chemicals that emit toxic fumes. The fume hood will remove the fumes. They are only effective if used properly. Opening the fume hood sash too much drastically reduces its ability to remove fumes.

All chemicals are classified and labeled in accordance to the Hazard Communication Standard and the Globally Harmonized System. Each chemical will be labeled with a hazard symbol (pictogram) if there are hazards associated with that chemical. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a nifty Quick Card that you can view to learn more about pictograms.



Who To Contact


  • S - Willard Lewallen STEM Center

    S - Willard Lewallen STEM Center

    Location Type: Building

    Building Name: S - Willard Lewallen STEM Center

    Room Location: S-206